Call it a Christmas miracle.
As I was reading a column in today’s paper that the Phillies were “showing interest” in signing Cliff Lee, hubby came in the door and said that the Phils had actually signed him. “Yeah, right”, I thought. So I checked the news on my handy cell phone (what did we ever do without them?), and saw that it was so. And for fewer years and less money than either the Yankees or Rangers were offering! With Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels, and now Lee, the Phillies’ starting rotation will be a force to be reckoned with next season. 🙂
It was only last year around this time that I was lamenting Cliff’s departure to Seattle via trade, and wishing there was a way to clone him.
Well, I don’t need to wish any more! Happy Ho-Lee-days, everyone!
Ever wonder how the makers of baseball cards have shots of players with their new teams all ready before the season has even started (and spring training has barely started)?
Well, in the dark ages they used to take head shots of players with their heads tilted up, obscuring the logo on the cap, specifically to simplify the process of airbrushing out the offending team colors and adding the new ones.
Now, with the wonders of Photoshop, Cliff Lee can appear on a Topps Opening Day card, in game action, wearing a Seattle Mariners uniform.
One little problem, though.
The black HK patch that the Phillies wore last season to honor the late Harry Kalas is still visible on Lee’s left side, just above the Mariners logo.
Wow, I didn’t realize Harry was so beloved that even Seattle wanted to honor him! 😉
OK, actually $10.25 million. This is the amount that Blanton is apparently seeking for 2010. The Phillies have offered $7.5 million. If the two sides can’t reach an agreement, the case will go to arbitration next month.
Is it just me, or does anyone else feel that Blanton and/or his agent are highly delusional in believing that he is worth over $10 million for the coming season?
Not great, not horrible. What my husband would call “serviceable”. Maybe not so bad as “mediocre”, but somewhere between “OK” and “good”. Since when is this kind of performance worth that kind of money?
This just in, the Phillies have signed Blanton to a three-year, $24 million contract extension. No specifics on the yearly breakdown, so it averages out to $8 million per year. Still not sure if I think this is what Blanton is worth, but at least it’s closer to what the Phillies were offering, instead of what Blanton was asking.
Cliff Lee, on the other hand, would have been making $9 million this season, had the Phillies not traded him. Yeah, I’m still perturbed about that. Cliff’s career numbers are 90-52, with a 3.97 ERA, and a Cy Young award to his name. And let’s not forget his postseason performance!
And now I know why.
Over the holidays, my brother-in-law revealed that my nephew has some pretty crappy karma when it comes to getting jerseys of popular Phillies and Eagles players. Quite often, said player ends up leaving the team, via trade or free agency. This happens more frequently than mere chance would seem to suggest.
So what did they get him this year? A Cliff Lee jersey!! And we all know what happened next.
*sigh* If only they’d gotten him a Blanton jersey instead.
(photos by me)
Alright, so it’s not technically winter yet, but it will be in just a few days, so it’s close enough.
And what is the source of my discontent? Why, the fact that the Phillies traded Cliff Lee to the Mariners. I’m irked by the way this whole Halladay-for-prospects and prospects-for-Lee trade triangle between the Phillies, Blue Jays, and Mariners keeps getting labelled as a three-team trade (four, if you count the fact that the Jays then sent Michael Taylor to the A’s in another trade). Maybe if the Mariner’s prospects had gone to the Blue Jays it would be. But they didn’t. This was two separate trades, not one three-way trade!
So while I’m happy to have Roy Halladay, I’m perturbed that we had to give up Cliff Lee AND Kyle Drabek, Micheal Taylor, and Travis D’Arnaud.
In fact, Cliff Lee doesn’t sound so thrilled either. From phillies.com:
“At first I didn’t believe it,” Lee said. “I thought we were working out an extension with the Phillies. I thought I would spend the rest of my career there.”
In my opinion, this trade was not about restocking the farm system, and not about getting something for Lee before he becomes a free agent and goes looking for a Sabathia-like contract. No, it was about not wanting to spend an extra $9 million next season.
Even if Lee was only here for one more year, wouldn’t it have been great to have a rotation with Halladay, Lee, and Hamels at the top?
Last time I checked, it was still pitching that wins ballgames, not prospects.
Note to Ruben Amaro: I am not happy!!
Wait, let me say it louder:
I AM NOT HAPPY!!
I AM NOT HAPPY!!
I AM NOT HAPPY!!
Can you hear me now, Ruben?
Q: What do the Mariners, Blue Jays, and Phillies all have in common?
A: At one time or another, Pat Gillick was the GM. Coincidence, or something more? You be the judge.
If You Can’t Clone Them, Create Them
If only I’d perfected that plan to clone Cliff. We could have traded one, but kept a few others. *sigh*
But I have a new plan. According to an ad in my Sunday newspaper, I can create my own kids, for free!
I just need to figure out which combination of ice cream and mix-in would create a child with the ideal qualities – a combination of Halladay’s dominance, Lee’s work ethic, Hamels’ change-up, Victorino’s speed, Howard’s power (but without the tendency to strike out), and Utley’s postseason heroics. I’d need to get nine of them to fill out the lineup. But since it’s only valid for children 12 and under, I’d have to wait about 10 years or so for my plan to come to fruition. And if they’re made out of ice cream, they may be more suited to playing ice hockey than baseball.
Oh well, back to the drawing board.
Holiday, er, “Halliday” Shopping Update
I stopped in my local Modell’s this morning to look for a Christmas gift for one of my nephews. My timing turned out to be fortuitous – they were just opening up boxes of brand new Halladay t-shirts, so I snatched one. Hopefully my nephew doesn’t read this blog, or now he knows what he’s getting for Christmas :-).
But if any of you are bargain-hunting, the prices on the Cliff Lee t-shirts were slashed from $17.99 to a mere $10, due to the aforementioned trade.
I know, I haven’t posted much lately. It’s just that there’s not a whole lot going on right now, baseball-wise, and there’s been plenty of non-baseball holiday preparations to keep me busy. Oh sure, the off-season signings are starting up, but the addition of Brian Schneider and Placido Polanco to the Phillies’ roster is not exactly ground-shaking news.
Schneider will serve as backup to Carlos Ruiz. He’s practically a hometown boy, having grown up in the Allentown area. Schneider spent the past two seasons with the Mets, so hopefully he will quickly cleanse himself of all Mets-cooties before Spring Training begins.
Welcome Brian, and good luck to you this year!
Polanco is no stranger to Philly, having played second for the Phils from mid-2002 until mid-2005. He will be replacing Pedro Feliz at third. Though he does not possess the power normally associated with third basemen, he rarely strikes out – over the past five seasons, just once in every 17.5 plate appearances! Second best in the majors over that time span! What a refreshing change that will be from certain other Phillies who will remain nameless.
Welcome back, Placido! I wish you and your amazingly round head good luck this year also!
In more disturbing news, former Phillie fan favorite (or should I say “phan phavorite”?) Chris Coste has crossed over to the dark side, oops, I mean signed with the Mets. Bleh!
Yesterday, I started thinking about the old Michael Keaton film, “Multiplicity”. Keaton’s character doesn’t have enough time to get everything done, so he finds someone who will clone him. Hilarity ensues, of course, but eventually he realizes that cloning is not the perfect answer he thought it would be.
But what if it could be done? What if, for instance, we could have cloned Cliff Lee during the postseason?
Instead of this four-man rotation:
the Yankees could have faced a rotation of Cliff Lees (let’s call them Number 1, Number 2, Number 3, and Number 4).
We could even make a Number 5, to fill out the rotation during the regular season.
But how to do this? I came across this product online:
Cloning Gel. Hmm. Just rub it all over Cliff, and a new Cliff magically grows?
Unfortunately, the tiny print indicates that it is “rooting & propagation gel” and “stimulates root development for all cuttings”. The thought of Cliff growing roots seems detrimental, and removal of a “cutting” might not be a good idea either. I guess the cloning idea is just wishful thinking, though I’m sure Jenn wouldn’t mind trying to clone Chase Utley by rubbing gel on him. 😉
The Phillies are headed to the World Series for the second straight year (yay!), and now await the conclusion of the ALCS to see who their opponent will be. The Angels rallied to beat the Yankees last night, forcing the series back to New York for at least Game 6. Personally, I am rooting for the Yankees.
Yes, it pains me to say this, as I’ve always professed to be a Yankee-hater. But I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t so much the individual Yankees I disliked (except maybe A-Rod), but the whole concept of the Yankees. I mean, 26 (!) World Series championships? That’s almost one-fourth of all the championships ever. The Phillies, on the other hand, have exactly two. So I guess it’s more jealousy of all that success than hate – call me a Yankee-envier.
An all-East Coast WS would have the benefit of none of those late West Coast games. No worries about jet-lag affecting the Phillies players. Alas, no palm trees (because everything is better with palm trees), but I can overlook that.
In the meantime, since the World Series doesn’t start until next Wednesday, I can b*tch and moan about one of my major peeves with postseason baseball – the starting times of the games and the length of the games.
Is there any reason that we have to wait until 8:07 to begin a night game? 7:05 is good enough the rest of the season. If MLB wants to attract and retain a new generation of fans, having games start that late and not end until almost midnight is not the way to do it.
Of the nine postseason games the Phillies have played so far, only three of them have finished in about 3 hours. Two of those were started by Cliff Lee (thank you, Cliff, for being so efficient). The other one was Game 2 of the NLCS, when Pedro Martinez and Vicente Padilla were both dazzling.
The other six games averaged 3 hours and 49 minutes in length, with two games going beyond 4 hours. This is well beyond the attention span of many young fans, and even a lot of adult ones. Maybe Lee could give the other starters some lessons on mound efficiency.
Every Girl Crazy ‘Bout a Sharp Dressed Man
Maybe ZZ Top could pull off some of the looks sported by TBS reporter Craig Sager during the NLCS, but I sure can’t say I was crazy about them. See for yourself:
Game 1: OK, this one’s not too bad, it’s kinda reminiscent of one of HK’s favorites, which hangs in the dugout during each game.
Game 2: Yikes! How did Ethier manage to keep a straight face while being interviewed? My 8-year-old daughter might think this is a good look – she thinks everything looks better if it’s pink.
Game 3: Though it doesn’t really show in this photo, on TV the jacket appeared to be velour or some similar material, and is a very dark purplish/eggplant color. Has Craig been raiding Liberace’s closet?
Game 4: This one makes me think of a pumpkin. I guess he wanted to get in the holiday spirit, since the World Series will only be at Game 3 (!) on Halloween.
Game 5: Slightly less garish, but still on the loud side. And c’mon, Jayson, smile – you just clinched the NLCS!
Since I don’t normally watch much sports on TBS, I don’t know if this is the way he always dresses. I can only hope he’s doing this on purpose, and doesn’t actually think this is a good look. And what must his closet look like? Seeing all those jackets hanging side by side would be enough to make my eyeballs pop (or at least scorch my retinas).
Thank goodness the WS is not on TBS; I don’t know if I can handle any more of these visual assaults!
Last night, the Phillies apparently put Friday’s painful Game 2 loss out of their minds, and set about administering a good old-fashioned butt-whuppin’ to the Dodgers, winning 11-0. Game 2 saw the Phils’ bats stymied by former Phillie Vicente Padilla (gotta admit I didn’t expect that), as they mustered only one run on Ryan Howard’s solo homer. In Game 3, they exploded for 11 runs!
And I wasn’t even wearing the lucky shirt! Mind you, it had been washed since Game 2, hopefully removing any bad luck remnants. But prior to the game, I’d been so busy helping my son with a school project, that I didn’t even think about changing shirts. So I sat down to watch the game still wearing my Penn State sweatshirt, and my Eagles not-so-lucky garment that didn’t do any good at all for them yesterday. And still the Phils won! So maybe I can just wear whatever I want for the rest of the series.
Random thoughts on Games 2 and 3:
– Talk about temperature extremes! Friday’s game was played under bright blue skies with temps in the 90’s; last night’s game had mid-40’s temps with windy conditions. Given my choice, I’d much rather the conditions in L.A., and besides, everything is better with palm trees!
– Cliff Lee once again pitched a gem for the Phillies, going eight shutout innings. So far this postseason, he is 2-0 with a miniscule 0.74 ERA.
– Pedro Martinez also pitched a gem on Friday, going seven shutout innings, but ended up with no decision in the 2-1 loss.
– Ryan Howard hit a two-run triple in the first inning last night. Now there’s something you don’t see every day, as Howard is obviously not known for his speed. Howard has now driven in at least one run in seven straight playoff games, setting a new record for a single postseason. Way to go, Ryan!
– Carlos Ruiz is quietly having a great postseason so far, hitting .429 with 7 RBIs. He doesn’t get the same amount of attention as the rest of the lineup (except possibly Pedro Feliz), but he’s been very productive batting in the number 8 spot.
The Nose Knows
Speaking of Pedro Feliz, not sure what was up with his nose last night, though I’m assuming this was a Band-aid, and not his attempt to impersonate Rudolph:
I would’ve assumed that there were products available for people with darker complexions, but surprisingly I can’t find any such thing on the internet. But there are lots of fun products out there for more interesting situations.
Celebrate a birthday:
Let the other team know you’re watching them:
Let the other team know you think they’re toast:
And since Halloween will only bring Game 3 (yes, this year’s postseason definitely goes too late into the fall) of the World Series:
Shocking TV Scheduling!
In a real surprise, the Yankees/Angels game is on at 4 pm here on the East Coast, and the Phillies/Dodgers game gets the prime time spot. What gives? Has the world tilted on its axis? Has hell frozen over? Steinbrenner wants to watch the Yankees and can’t stay up that late anymore?
Whatever the reason, I’ll be watching Game 4 tonight from the cozy comforts of home. If anyone has tickets they don’t want to use, I’d be more than happy to brave the elements! 😉
(Feliz photo by Mary Schwalm/MLB.com)